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Poll: Education is top issue for Arizona voters heading into 2017

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PHOENIX — The questions have been asked and the results are in: The most important issue for Arizonans in 2017 is education, poll results released late last week showed.

The poll from Expect More Arizona, a pro-education group, said 43 percent of likely Arizona voters responded that the issue they care most about is education.

Thirty-four percent of respondents said immigration and border security were their largest concerns, while 16 percent said their biggest issues were jobs and unemployment.

When asked to be more specific about the problems facing Arizona education, 41 percent said a lack of budget was the biggest problem, while 34 percent said teacher pay and shortages had them worried. Another 31 percent said they have questions about the schools’ curriculums.

But the respondents said they are willing to pony up some extra money to help alleviate their concerns. More than 50 percent of respondents across all political parties said they would be willing to pay more taxes to fund schools, especially if that money goes to teacher pay.

About 96 percent of respondents said education should not be affected by income, zip code and background and 95 percent said they feel a strong education system improves the surrounding community.

On Monday, Gov. Doug Ducey announced a new plan to give teachers a pay hike without raising taxes. His remarks came after the survey was conducted.

The poll was conducted from Dec. 15-17 and included the responses of 600 likely Arizona voters. It had a margin of error of 4.4 percent.